Gov. Rick Scott will set out on a “listening tour” of Florida schools this week.
His plan is to get input from teachers, students and parents.
Scott says he “wants to hear Florida’s education stakeholders voice their ideas on how to improve the education of our state’s children.”
Scott has been accused of not listening to those stakeholders enough.
The outcry over budget cuts led Scott to put a billion dollars back into the education budget this year.
His Education Commissioner, Gerard Robinson, barely stayed on the job a year.
Robinson drew the ire of parent groups like Fund Education Now, which suggested he was more beholden to lobbyists and standardized test scores than to parents and educators.
The state’s largest teacher’s union said the short notice on the tour and the presence of video crews will likely mean little substantive discussion.
“While going out to schools is always a good idea, this seems like another PR event,” Florida Education Association spokesman Mark Pudlow said in a statement. “There are plenty of people who are experts in the education field who have plenty of ideas about how to improve our neighborhood public schools. …Having meaningful conversations with these groups – and truly listening to them and working at achieving consensus on the road ahead, would be a step forward. I’m not sure this is what’s happening this week.”
Scott will start his tour at Pinedale Elementary School in Jacksonville. He’ll sit down with teachers, then parents, Monday afternoon for two roundtable discussions.
More cities and dates for the tour will be announced throughout the week.
Governor Scott will blog about each day’s events. He’ll also be followed by a student film crew that will later post video on the blog.